Police have threatened the BNP with tough action if the opposition party holds its Dec 10 rally outside its headquarters in Naya Paltan.
Khandker Golam Faruq, commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, maintains political gatherings must be held in fields, not on streets.
Amid violent clashes between police and BNP activists in Naya Paltan on Wednesday afternoon, Faruq noted at a press conference the BNP was allocated Suhrawardy Udyan for the rally.
Citing intel and news reports, he said the BNP was planning to gather 1 million people for the rally.
“Naya Paltan can house only 70,000-80,000 people. If the rest of the people spread across the city, there will be disorder.”
“Police can’t let that happen for the interest of the people.”
The DMP commissioner said the BNP chose fields as the venue of their previous rallies in other major cities. “We’ve learnt from the media that they aren’t willing to hold the rally in Suhrawardy Udyan. We proposed Tongi Ijtema ground and Purbachal trade fair ground for the rally, which can house 1 million people.”
“We’ve made it clear that they cannot rally on the streets, but in fields. Otherwise the police will be as tough as possible under the law.”
Faruq could not give details of the clashes in Naya Paltan, saying he heard several people were injured.
Elite SWAT force personnel with assault rifles were deployed at one stage of the clashes in Naya Paltan.
“Many crude bombs were burst there. We’ve heard rice and firewood was gathered. This is why police strengthened their presence for the safety of the city’s residents,” said Faruq.